Chinese Woman Gives Birth on a Plane, Flight Crew Assist


What happens if you go into active labor on a plane?

Feng Yu, 23, just found out on a recent 2 hour China Eastern Airlines flight. She went into labor 50 minutes into the flight and gave birth seven minutes before landing.

The flight crew cleared the last two rows of seats to accommodate in-flight delivery “room.” They also tried to find a medical professional on board but had no luck so they assisted the birth themselves, using whatever training they’d been given.

“I was frightened when the baby’s head came out but the body was still stuck,” flight attendant Zuo Lei told the Shanghai Daily. “I asked myself to calm down and firmly held the woman’s hand and tried hard to recall what I learned in emergency training.” I wonder what she was trying to recall? To get the mom on all fours? Is the Gaskin Maneuver taught in flight attendant school? Or maybe the baby wasn’t stuck, it was just a natural moment when the head is out and the body has yet to emerge with the next contraction. Any which way, the baby girl was born healthy and named “Angel.”

According to Fox News, in China there’s a 7 month cut off for pregnant women flying, but Yu’s slender frame made it possible for her to board the plane without fuss. Women in the US are discouraged from flying after about 36 weeks. I know one doctor who told a patient flying at 35 weeks: If you go into labor start drinking hard liquor until the contractions go away. Though this may sound highly irresponsible, there’s sound reasoning behind it: alcohol will suppress the labor hormone oxytocin (also released during orgasm and breastfeeding). Yes, some alcohol will get to the fully developed baby but if a few drinks get you to a medical professional maybe it’s worth it?

An any event, congratulations to the parents, baby and flight staff on a successful landing delivery.